We talked about the non-laying hens at dinner, and their imminent future as soup.
"Has anyone here killed anything larger than a rodent?"
"Not me." "Nope." "I had my cat put to sleep."
"I killed a snake once."
"How do you kill a chicken?"
"You swing it by its head."
"I did that once. I was a kid. All the drown-ups were drunk, and they thought it would be funny."
"You hang them by their feet and slit their throat and drain the blood out."
"You stick it in a cone and chop off its head."
"What if you miss?"
"You could just crush the head. That would do it."
"We could get them stoned first."
There were jokes made, at the chickens' expense. The next morning I realized that if I'm going to be part of killing a chicken or other animal, I need there to be a ritual honoring the gift the animal is giving us. When it really is time to make chicken soup, I'll be involved in the slaughter in some sort of shamanic capacity.